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G. P. Bear goes to Washington

The true story of a libertarian carnivore

by Bill Steigerwald

George Orwell used satire and talking pigs in “Animal Farm.” Now, with snowfalls in Houston and Houston signaling the start of the next ice age, veteran journalist Bill Steigerwald shamelessly steals Orwell’s idea and uses talking polar bears to poke fun at global warming alarmists, polar bear hysterics and their fellow travelers in Washington and the media.

Twisting the title of director Frank Capra’s movie masterpiece to his own evil ends, Steigerwald and his son Joe have created  “G.P. Bear Goes to Washington.”  The 6-part serialized “docu-fable” stars Grandpa, a magical, media-savvy and proudly skeptical libertarian polar bear who understands his species is in far greater danger from the interventions of the federal government, Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and overzealous wildlife scientists than from anthropogenic climate change.

 Part 1

“Are we not polar bears?”

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and “almost a man.” Some called the bear “the great lonely roamer.” Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

– Polar Bears International



Grandpa Polar Bear was relaxing in his easy chair watching a special news report on TV called “Plight of the Polar Bears.” As a mother bear and her cub stood forlornly on a tiny shrinking iceberg somewhere near the Arctic Circle, the dashing reporter from CNN sounded like he was going to cry.

“…. because of global climate change, polar bears are suffering population losses and may soon become extinct. Rising temperatures are melting the sea ice earlier and earlier each summer, leaving the bears less time to hunt for their primary food ­ — ringed seals. If we don’t reduce our burning of fossil fuels soon, scientists say the only place our children will be able to see these magnificent creatures will be in a zoo or in a Walt Disney movie. For CNN, I’m Anderson Cooper.”

“Extinct!?” Grandpa roared, slapping the arms of his leather chair with his huge paws. “Melting sea ice!? Shrinking bear populations? Who writes this junk, Al Gore?”

“Don’t get upset, Dad,” said Mother, looking up from her latest copy of Reason magazine. “It’s CNN. What do you expect? Fairness? Balance?”

“What were they saying about polar bears dying, Grandpa?” asked Junior, looking worried as he came in from the kitchen with a bottle of Coke.

“Nothing, Junior. Nothing,” Grandpa grumbled. “Just a lot of make-believe.”

After dinner, Grandpa read Junior a bedtime story. As Grandpa was about to turn off the nightlight, Junior asked, “Grandpa, why do you yell at the TV? The people in it can’t hear you.”

“I know,” Grandpa said with a smile. “They live far away in New York and Washington. That’s why they don’t know anything about polar bears or the Arctic.”

Junior looked anxiously at Grandpa. “Mother said your heart will get attacked if you keep yelling at the news.”

“Don’t you worry,” Grandpa chuckled. “I just get mad when humans make us look like sissies who can’t handle a little change in the weather. We’re polar bears, for Pete’s sake. We’re not helpless victims. We don’t need the government, Keith Olbermann, Greenpeace, Leonardo DiCaprio or anyone else to protect us from Mother Nature.

“If humans just left us alone ­ and if their scientists stopped chasing us with helicopters and shooting us with dart guns ­ we’d be fine.”

“Why don’t you go to where the humans on TV live and yell at them?” wondered Junior. “Everyone always listens when you yell.”

“They wouldn’t believe a thing I’d tell them. But that’s a good idea, Junior,” Grandpa said, clicking off the nightlight. “A darn good idea. ”


“Guess what I learned today?” Junior asked as he came running in from school.

“I can’t imagine,” Grandpa mumbled.

“Shush, Dad,” said Mother. “What did you learn, Junior?”

“I learned all about ‘global melting,’ ” Junior began breathlessly. “The whole world is getting hotter because humans drive too many cars. The sea ice is going to go away forever and — ”

“Whoa!” interrupted Grandpa. “Who taught you that stuff? Rachel Maddow?”

“No,” said Junior. “Principal Hansen. She came to homeroom today. Her big computer says Earth is getting hotter and hotter and Greenland is melting really, really fast. All the ice will be gone when I get as old as you.”

“That’s preposterous,” Grandpa said.

“Principal Hansen said the oceans will get taller and taller,” Junior said with a worried look on his face. “Principal Hansen said polar bears and lots of other animals will get ‘stinkt if humans keep burning stuff like coal. It’s really scary, Grandpa.”

“Principal Hansen’s crazier than Al Gore,” Grandpa said to Mother so Junior couldn’t hear. “Didn’t I tell you that boy should have been home-schooled?”

Later that same night, after midnight, Grandpa was at his desk. He was sending his usual round of disparaging e-mails to the politicians in Washington when Junior’s cry pierced the stillness.

“Grandpa!” Junior wailed. “Help me. I’m burning!”

Grandpa and Mother raced to Junior’s bedside. Junior was crying in his sleep. “Help me, Grandpa,” he pleaded mournfully. “I’m too young to melt.”

“Junior, wake up,” Grandpa said, shaking him. “You’re dreaming.”

Junior’s eyes popped open. “Grandpa! Mother! The ice was all gone! We were stuck on a tiny iceberg. The ocean was boiling!”

“It was just a silly nightmare, Junior,” soothed Mother. “The ice isn’t melting. See?” she said, patting the rock-hard wall of their cave.

Grandpa was fuming. He gritted his big teeth and looked Junior straight in his teary eyes.

“Boy,” he said firmly, “I’m going to tell you something I want you to remember for the rest of your life. We are polar bears. We are the largest land carnivores on Earth. We are the species ursus maritimus — ­ ‘bears of the sea.’ We can swim 200 miles. We can walk 100 miles a day.

“We learned how to live on this frozen wasteland thousands of years before humans discovered fire. There are 25,000 of us alive today ­ — twice as many as 50 years ago. We are not going to become extinct ­ no matter what Principal Hansen and her big computers say. Now go to sleep ­ and no more silly nightmares.”

“That was no nightmare,” Grandpa whispered angrily to Mother. “That boy’s being brainwashed by a bunch of kooks.”

“That’s all the schools teach,” said Mother. “It’s like a new religion. Every cub I know thinks the ice will be gone before they grow up. All the mothers are complaining.”

Grandpa was fuming. “Polar bears having nightmares,” he snarled. “That’s pathetic. It’s time somebody stood up to lunatics like Hansen and their doomsday stories.”



Eleven years ago, as another Christmas approached, I called up my favorite libertarian priest, The Rev. Robert Sirico, for some unique and principled seasonal advice.

Sirico is not your ordinary parish priest.

He is not only the pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish in Grand Rapids, Mich., he’s the co-founder and president of The Acton Institute,

England's greatest Lord, Lord Acton.

England’s greatest Lord, Lord Acton.

a market-friendly think tank devoted to promoting “a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.”

Father Sirico sums up the purpose of the Acton Institute, by reminding us of the beliefs of its great and brilliant namesake and relentless advocate of human freedom,  John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834-1902).

Lord Acton gave us much, much more than his most famous and always apt quote:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.

Summing up his institute’s mission, Father Sirico says on his institute’s web site that, “Acton realized that economic freedom is essential to creating an environment in which religious freedom can flourish. But he also knew that the market can function only when people behave morally. So faith and freedom must go hand in hand. As he put it, ‘Liberty is the condition which makes it easy for conscience to govern.’ ”

Father Sirico has been a frequent contributor to the country’s top op-ed pages and a regular commentator on TV. Brooklyn-born, a lefty in his youth, he’s made it his extra-spiritual calling to educate future religious leaders about the principles — and moral virtues — of a free-market economy.

The Qs and the As:

Eleven years ago, when I was a real journalist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review doing a weekly Q&A with smart or important people like Father Sirico, I called up my favorite man of the cloth up and asked him about Christmas, gift giving and the health of Christianity.

Q: Why has Christianity been so successful for 2,000 years?

A: I think we have to understand that Christianity inherits a lot of its presupposition from Judaism, so we have to begin by linking Christianity to Judaism, which parenthetically is why Christianity has no place for anti-Semitism in it. I think that Christian and Jewish anthropology accounts for having laid the foundation for the building of societies that are free and virtuous. This understanding of who the human person is — in a transcendent dignity but a physical reality, a real-world embrace of contingency, of historical circumstance, indeed the emergence of economics — comes from this anthropological understanding. If I was to point to one thing, that would be the one thing that accounts for the success of Christianity and the building of Western Civilization.

Q: What or where are Christianity’s most important challenges today?

A: Today the greatest challenge of Christianity, both here in the United States and most acutely in Europe, is the challenge of secularism; the attempt to live off the legacy of Christianity without reference to its roots. What secularism does — and its moral companion, moral relativism — is attempt to have structures and appearance and success predicated on a Judeo-Christian ethic but without reference to the obligations and even the dogmatic formulations that are attendant and explicate those roots.

Q: Looking around the world, do you see Christianity gaining or losing its moral authority in our day-to-day lives, especially in politics and culture?

A: I think this is the struggle in the United States right now. In some sense, pockets of Christianity have lost a sense of moral authority. We’ve seen this in the mainline churches and to some extent in the more progressive elements of the Catholic Church– where these religious officials have substituted a confident proclamation of the traditions of the faith with a kind of politically correct and sociologically based agenda. So you see in the various statements of the religious headquarters a preoccupation with political, social issues — a kind of displacing of the theological paradigm, which is centered on God, on revelation, and in the case of Christianity, of Jesus Christ, with a sociological or psychological paradigm.

But the elements of Christianity that are growing are the traditional elements within Catholicism, in large part as the result of the encouragement of the model they received from Pope John Paul the Great and now Benedict the 16th and within evangelical Christianity, which has become rather sophisticated. It is not the kind of shad-belly, snake-handling, uneducated-preacher type any more. You have highly accomplished, intellectually sophisticated representatives of evangelic Christians.

Then on top of that, I think that the most interesting, exciting and vibrant dialogue that is occurring right withinreligious communities right now is occurring between evangelicals and traditional Roman Catholics … that is, Catholics who really believe in theteaching authority of the church.

Q: Does Christianity have anything to fear from Islam?

A: Let me say that this encounter with Islam, for Catholicism, is not a new thing. Catholicism has encountered Islam in its various phases and various traditions over the centuries…. The important thing that I think was underscored by the Regensburg speech in Germany by Pope Benedict is that we must come to an understanding that religion must utilize reason in order to create the opportunity for conversation. If we simply resort to violence in settling our religious disagreements, then very soon there is bloodshed and things that would undermine the basis of civil order.

This is a warning not just directed to the more extreme elements of Islam. The speech by Benedict was really a warning to the West, which is rejecting reason along with Christianity. You find that many philosophers, especially those of the deconstructionist model, no longer believe that the human mind, and hence reason, has the capacity to apprehend truth — that there is no truth. This is associated with moral relativism.

So the threat comes not just from fundamentalist Islam, jihadist Islam, but also from highly secularized elements of European and American culture. I would like to think that the more moderate elements of Islam, who are repulsed by the hedonism and the secularism they see, might be willing to find some common cause with traditional Christians in promoting a society that can remain virtuous and retain a religious reference point.

Q: Christianity and Islam — didn’t they coexist rather peacefully at some point?

A: There was a period of several hundred years where they did. In the strict reading of the Koran, Christians would have to pay a tax for being Christians. But being people of ‘the Book,’ they wouldn’t necessarily be executed. They were certainly seen in the book — in the Koran — as second-class citizens. The question is whether Islam can formulate, or reformulate, an understanding of themselves that has a sense of tolerance and makes the distinction between the power and authority of the religion and the legitimate secular authority. Christianity did this predicated on Jesus’ words ‘Render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.’ Islam apparently has greater difficulty in doing that. In one sense, Islam is awaiting its Augustine, it’s awaiting its Aquinas, to help formulate and develop these distinctions. That really is the debate: Can Islam develop? The more-jihadists say no, the text is written and is fixed and there is no exegesis. There is no development the way you had in Christianity. Therefore there is no distinction between power — which is coercive and external, namely government or legal — and authority, which is internal and moral — which would be the church’s role. Both power and authority are forms of constraint, but one is coercive and the other is based on persuasion.

Q: Christians complain about the commercialization of Christmas. Secularists complain about the cold-hearted immorality of the marketplace. Is capitalism a natural enemy of Christianity, or vice versa?

A: I don’t think capitalism is a natural enemy of Christianity. Capitalism is really an inadequate word; it only describes one dimension of what is really human freedom and choice in the economic sphere. Choice is morally neutral. It’s the chooser who can be moral or immoral, not the ability to make the choice. You have to have the ability to make the choice in order to choose. I think it is a mistake for religious leaders to condemn the free economy based on some of the results. What they may want to do is condemn the choices that people make and the lack of moral formation that they have.

But the notion of gift-giving as being sinful at Christmas is absurd. Where do we get gift-giving from? The Magi. They brought the gifts to Jesus. But I think it is very easy to lose focus on the core meaning of the season, which is human relationships. A part of that is economic, but not the whole of it.

Q: You recently wrote a column about how the act of gift-giving relies heavily on an economic system that allows free exchanges between individuals. Can you explain?

A: You can’t be generous with which you don’t first have — with which you have not first produced and possessed. So there is this moral dimension to it. The real danger is when you lose focus and the mere act is an end in itself, or the mere giving, or the mere buying, is an act in itself. This diminishes the understanding of who human beings are.

Q: Does that mean that it’s the end and not the means that matters? Usually it’s the other way around.

A: I think it’s both a means and the end. You have to be headed in the right direction — the end. You need to choose the appropriate means for that and I think market activity is an appropriate means to a right end. But economics as such does not have a moral reference point. By itself, economics tells us nothing about what is good and bad. It will only tell us what is in supply and what is scarce.In order to bring the moral reference point, you have to have human beings who are formed with a moral sensitivity.

Q: What’s the best Christmas gift anyone can give another person?

A: I think themselves. By that I mean love, relationship. Sometimes that will take the form of a material expression. The best gift is the gift of self, because in giving oneself, one is giving everything else. After all, this is what follows the model of Christ himself. In his condescension to come to Earth to be with us, he gives himself. There was a cute little takeoff of the Hallmark slogan years ago that Christians used — ‘God cared enough to give the very best.’ I don’t mean to be just poetic in saying it, but I think the best gift we can give people is ourselves.

I wrote of my adventures at the RNC, which included politely crashing Yianopoulos’ event over here at Playboy. Read that. Give them and me the clicks. However, considering that the professional troll has once again caused a university kerfuffle, I figure I’d post this to provide some helpful hints as to how unlibertarian this man is. My Playboy piece doesn’t include all.

Yes, much of the time college students seem to give him just what he wants, attention and horror. But that doesn’t make him worthwhile. Have you ever seen his writing? It’s juvenile, dull, makes Ann Coulter look like Christopher Hitchens, and it’s allegedly not even written by him. Yeah, he’s got a posh voice. Yeah, he can be perfectly polite in person, and was to me.

He still used to wonder if “Internet is Turning Us all Into Sociopaths” and then became one for attention. He actually turned off his sycophantic fans by taking a photo of someone overweight who was working out at the gym. And best of all, after being hosted by Young Americans for Liberty University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, he allegedly used a photo of a trans woman and named her and mocked her in front of an audience. Yeah, she might be a liberal, so no doubt libertarians disagree with some of her goals and expectations. But yeah, she had the audacity to want to use the locker room of her identity at her college. Yeah, she noted the contradiction in policing that— if you’re female-identified, are growing breasts, but still have a penis, where would they like you to change? Male locker room? Female? A broom closet? Far away from the scared, scared administrators?

You can say what you want, bring who you want to you college. yes I am glad the ACLU defended the right to march to Skokie. Yes, I am a worried about some college students’ respect for free speech. Booking a sociopathic bully, a professional troll, a man who speaks well enough to fool people into thinking he’s intelligent is not how you do that. Try harder. Expect more from people.

Or, you know, if he comes to your college, ignore him. Just ignore him. He loves the chaos of the event, and the hatred. It’s hard to know when to ignore, and when to challenge. If the person in question is a whore for attention, I lean towards ignoring. But it’s also good to know what he actually believes (well, nothing, but professes to believe).

In closing, here is my nine minute exchange with Yiannopoulos at his RNC party. I tried to neg him at the end about his accent, but he didn’t take the bait. He’s a completely disingenuous person who pulls off a sincere persona in person. He’s good. He’s not that good. I was three beers in.


LS: I missed your remarks today, but can you talk about how you feel with Donald Trump as the official, not-presumptive nominee?

MY: Yes, it’s wonderful news. It’s wonderful news for gay people. He’s obviously the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history.

LS: That’s a bold statement.

MY: Yeah, it is. But Hillary Clinton is funded by people who murder homosexuals. She has shown no indication whatsoever of stemming the tide of Islamic immigration, or stopping our mollycoddling, and pandering to Islam. These things are direct threats. Not just to culture, but to the lives of gay people in America. Donald Trump is the only person who has shown any indication — and not just out of the two of them, out of anybody who ran for president this year — that he is going to be tough enough to stop it. And his speech after Orlando, frankly, was magnificent. To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t know he had a speech like that in him. He really nailed it. And that’s when he completely won me over.

LS: So when you say tough enough, what do you want him to do? Not get funding like Hillary Clinton, obviously, but what do you — ?

MY: Close the walls.

LS: Entirely?

MY: Yes.

LS: How’s that going to work practically? That’s going to take a lot of government work.

MY: You know what, the government does a lot of stuff that it shouldn’t do — the Department of Education, for instance. Most of the federal government could be shut down. I don’t think — TSA hasn’t worked for a very long time, nothing about immigration in this country — the whole Homeland Security system in this country is totally fucked. The best thing that could possibly happen is it’s swept away and replaced by something smarter, and better, and probably more expensive, and a lot tougher. And a points-based system like Australia has zero Islamic racial immigration

LS: Do you think the government is capable of pulling that off?
MY: I think it should try for the sake of women and gays, yeah.

LS: What do you think about —

MY: Unless you want this country to turn into Sweden, or Germany, where no woman can walk out on the street beyond 11 o’clock without the risk of being raped now. In Western European countries, that is a daily reality for women in Germany, a daily reality for women in Sweden, it isn’t for the women in America, yeah? College campuses in America — these hysterical centers of crazy conspiracy theories about rape culture — are the safest places for women to be anywhere in the world. Now, some of the most dangerous places for women to be in the world are modern, Western, rich European countries. Why? One reason. Islamic immigration — it’s got to stop.

LS: I mean, stopping entirely like Trump said?

MY: Yes. I wish he hadn’t rolled back from it, I want him to do it. I want him to do it completely.

LS: Foreign policy-wise, what would you like to see happen?

MY: As little as possible. America has spent too long interfering oversees in too many other people’s wars, and too much other stuff. America’s got to look after America again. That means taking a realistic appraisal of who is actually at risk in this country, not whining feminists, or whinging Black Lives Matter activists, but gay people and women at risk from Islam. Also, so people in this country who have been treated badly, lied to and lied about. An honest appraisal of  who actually needs government attention in this country. And when all of that is done, then we can think about interfering elsewhere again.

LS: What about the fact that the Orlando shooter, a couple of the recent guys, have been American citizens? How do you resolve that, and how do you think Trump is going to resolve that?

MY: This is the other thing about Trump that’s great, the total anti-political correctness, it’s political correctness that killed in Sandy Hook, it is political correctness that killed in Orlando. People knew that these people were —

LS: What do you mean by Sandy Hook?

MY: People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t report him. They said afterwards they didn’t report him for fear of being seen as racist or Islamophobic. People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t say anything.

LS: Well, Sandy Hook the guy was kind of mentally ill, I think, but hadn’t done anything yet. That’s kind of a big civil liberties problem.

MY: Well, people said about him who hadn’t reported him said that the reason they didn’t was they didn’t want to be accused of Islamophobia and racism. That’s why they didn’t report him. They said that that themselves. The same thing with —

LS: San Bernardino. Sorry, you said Sandy Hook, so —

MY: Sorry, it’s been a long day, I apologize. Yeah.

LS: In terms of economics and trade, do you like Trump? You can argue that Clinton is actually more about free trade than Trump. He’s a bit more protectionist in some ways.

MY: Yes, but racial, globalist free markets hasn’t worked for everybody in America — hasn’t worked for at least the white working, or lower middle class in America don’t perceive that it has worked very well for them. It hasn’t served everybody, and a bit of protectionism — for many American voters — seems like quite an attractive thing. That’s not for me to decide, that’s for the voters to decide and many of them are saying, this slavish adherence to the cult of the free market that the Republican party has followed for decades isn’t what we want anymore. That’s not a question for me, that’s up to them. The voters seem to be voting with Trump.

LS: You like that, obviously, you’re —

MY: Yes, because I see it as wrapped up in the preservation of Western culture. And Western culture is what keeps women and gays safe, Western culture is what gave us Mozart, and Da Vinci, and Wagner, and Beethoven. Western culture is what is at risk from immigration from the Middle East.

LS: Doesn’t Western culture have a cosmopolitan, melting pot thing? If you get too isolationist, mightn’t you lose Western culture a bit?

MY: Well, the majority of Western culture came out of Europe, which is not comparable to America. It came out of nation states based on geographical and ethnic foundations. America is based on principles, a very different kind of country….The bottom line is Europe has an incredibly long, bloody history based on an excess of nationalism which has also created a lot of amazing art. The issue is that America also imported a lot of that wholesale, dropped it onto this other big continent over the sea, and that’s worked really well so far, but my view is that a little breather is necessary to make sure that — because Europe is about to fall, Sweden is going, Germany is going, France is going, America is going to be the preserver of that inheritance. And for that to happen, America’s got to take a break from foreign wars, and take a break from immigration.

LS: But again, what do you do with the Muslims who are already here — perhaps even citizens?

MY: If they’re citizens on terror watchlists, and there’s reason to suspect they might commit terrorists acts, they should be locked up or deported.

LS: But the watchlist and the no-fly list, the Democrats want to use that to ban guns and such, they don’t have due process.

MY: Yeah. My answer is lacking in subtlety, because I think the response has to be lacking in subtlety. There is a gigantic problem that an entirely new branch of government needs to be invented to fix. And I don’t know whether Trump’s the guy to do it, but he’s the closest of the field.

LS: What did you think about the rest of the convention besides Trump?

MY: Dull.

LS: Dull?

MY: Very dull.  Low energy. The fun things are the things I’m at, like this.

LS: How would you describe your politics? I know you’ve used different words over the years.

MY: In some degrees, libertarian. I’m socially conservative in some things. I don’t know a label that fits, honestly.

LS: In person you seem incredibly sincere. Obviously on twitter you seem to be a bit trolly.

MY: No, I like whimsy and satire, and that’s what Americans like so much about Brits. We bring subtlety and sense of humor that you sometimes lack. We have a very long history of importing Brits like Christopher Hitchens who are better at it than Americans are.

[drunk rando]: You know John Cleese.

MY: No, but the point is there’s something whimsical, satirical, and silly about British humor, which Americans have always enjoyed, and lots of us come over here because we have an audience of people who enjoy it.

LS: Do you have lots of American fans because your accent sounds so fancy?

MY: No, I’m losing it! Honestly, I spend three weeks here and I go Mid Atlantic. I sound like Madonna in 2008. Honestly, I don’t think it’s anything to do with it.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld need help.

The two most qualified Libertarian Party candidates to come along in my lifetime are getting lots of mainstream media attention, but they are doing a horrible job of selling and explaining the great ideas and principles they represent.

Have they never watched John Stossel or read Frederic Bastiat or Milton Friedman?

Have they never checked to see what the late Harry Browne said in his speeches or interviews? He wasn’t as qualified as either of these ex-blue-state governors, but he knew how to sell freedom. So did Ron Paul in a far less smooth, but more endearing way.

But Jeeze.

With Trump and Hillary competing hourly to see who is the most evil, this is a golden chance for the LP to capture a double-digit percentage of voters and become part of what passes for the national political conversation. But so far they are blowing it.

These nice guys not just dull, they were apparently each born without a marketing gene. Did they ever run for office or were they both appointed?

They need to come up with a couple of campaign slogans or little “parables” — the kind of stuff libertarians use at bars to try to persuade our clueless liberal friends that we aren’t neo-Nazis.

Johnson has blurted out the line that the Libertarian Twins want government to “stay out of our bedrooms” and “out of our wallets.” That’s a good start — the old “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” one-two.

But he and Weld need to elaborate and expound and offer examples of what that phrase means in terms of privacy rights and tax bites.

How about something like “We libertarians are against all government wars at home and abroad — wars on drugs, wars on poverty, wars on illiteracy, wars on Iraq and all other countries that haven’t done anything to harm us.”

Or how about the campaign slogan Rand Paul should have used but J&W and the LP are actually more suited for — “Peace, Pot and Uber”?

It appeals to the young and the heartbroken ex-Sanders supporters by being against foreign intervention, and for decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs.

It appeals to libertarians for the same reason, plus Uber is a symbol of entrepreneurial innovation, deregulation, free markets, and market-based solutions to bad government-rigged stuff like the monopoly taxicab “service” that has robbed and ill-served our urban populations for eighty years.

Ignorance of Uber by J&W is especially galling to me.

Millions of city people use Uber in the USA every week. It’s the greatest thing to happen to cities since sewers and sidewalks. But every candidate so far has missed the Uber vote — which is under 30, 60 percent female, urban/suburban, and diverse as hell.

As an Uber driver in Pittsburgh with 3,000-plus trips and 5,000 to 6,000 riders in my career, I can attest that 99.7 percent of Uber users love it — despite the nonstop attack against it by a mainstream media that has no clue about what Uber has done to improve life in cities and why it’s a win-win-win deal for drivers, previously stranded females, and a more sober society.

So what if under-30s don’t vote that much. Appeal to them the right way — with Uber and decriminalized drugs — and they might cast their first vote for a libertarian.

  • Oh God, I haven’t written on this blog in ages, and I have SO MANY PLAYBOY PIECES NOW. Read them all.  The most interesting ones are my every candidate is the worst ever series, brilliantly suggested by editor Joe Donatelli. I also did a Clinton rally, a Sanders rally, and an upcoming Trump and Kasich rally piece, as well as some odds and ends about privacy and drugs and stuff.
  • I also wrote a thing for The Federalist about the LP debate, the most important part of which was clearly Gary Johnson kissing John McAfee.
  • I sassed David Harsanyi’s Federalist piece about Hiroshima over at
  • I have — after years of Dan Bier harassing — published exactly one piece at FEE, which was excitingly republished at Newsweek (I don’t think that means I get to add to my official list. Will have to ask the committee).
  • Though I put my beloved Politics for People Who Hate Politics on hiatus AGAIN due to my lack of time management skills, Sheldon Richman and I have had many bracing Free Association podcasts.  The most recent was on voting, bathroom bills, Sanders selling out on war, presidents, and other bad things:

  • Speaking of podcasts, the killer trio of Kmele Foster, Matt Welch, and Michael Moynihan have started their own, called The Fifth Column. It’s addictively entertaining, even when Moynihan dominates (this is only a problem when he talks about blowback badly) and Matt talks not enough, and Kmele almost, but not quite lets the anarchy out. It’s really good. It’s like hanging out with three hilarious, smart dudes because it is that, but for your ears. It’s also basically a podcast full of the people I am too chicken to invite onto my podcast.
  • Someone pointed out a decent libertarian look at the notion of rape culture (there are longer, and lefter versions of this, like Charles W. Johnson’s Hayekian analysis) and as culture wars never die, it’s worth a read.

Also, Meat Loaf:


Rand Paul has virtually disappeared from the media and the polls.

Even his die-hard supporters can’t tell you what the senator has been doing or saying for the last month.

But if the presidential wannabe from Kentucky wants to return to viability — and visibility — as a 2016 candidate, he has to separate himself from the GOP’s boring herd at tonight’s debate on CNBC.

Here’s some free advice for Rand Paul from a career libertarian newspaperman:


Rand Paul needs to follow his father’s path.

First, rip off that ill-fitting Republican mask you’ve been wearing for five years and let people see your inner libertarian soul.

Then start sounding more like your father Dr. Ron, not less.

You need to start tapping more deeply into that young demographic that your father appealed to in 2012 merely by being his own lovable, Fed-bashing libertarian self.

For starters, and especially for early primary voters, Rand, tonight you need to begin branding yourself as an unabashed Pro Peace, Pro Pot and Pro Uber libertarian.


It’s probably already too late for Rand Paul.

But boldly pushing the principled libertarian angle on peace, pot, Uber and homeschooling in Iowa would have great appeal across both parties and independents and especially among college-age voters. Plus they are strong anti-establishment positions in a year when being against the establishment is no longer a strike against you but an asset.

Being for Peace, Pot and Uber for libertarian reasons would not just be more honest. It’d quickly bring Rand Paul the media attention he desperately needs before he mounts his next filibuster.

He’d be able to separate himself from the mangy crowd of GOP establishment candidates and their tired conservative ideas while allowing himself to proudly stick up for the principles and values libertarians love and want to implement.

Rand Paul should blast and shame Marco Rubio tonight for his awful prohibitionist stance on marijuana by sticking up for personal freedom; defending states rights comes second. Ditto for Christie’s horrible drug-czar position on drugs.

(Speaking of pot, our friend Matt Welch of has a deeper, more substantive “Dear Rand” letter that urges Sen. Paul to separate himself from his fellow debaters this evening and foresquarely call for the legalization of marijuana.)

Rand Paul also should be mocking Rubio’s tough talk about using troops to fix the Middle East hell we made with our previous bloody foolish military interventions and regime toppling fiascos. Ditto for Fiorina’s sure-to-fail Mid-East foreign policy.

Trump, for all the dumb and dumber stuff he says, has done a huge favor for a libertarian like Rand.  Trump’s politically incorrect statements and ideas have lowered, or maybe raised, the bar on what radical things a candidate can say without being punished by the voting public or the media.

Because of Trump and his refreshing “so-what-if-I-said-something-politically-incorrect” attitude, the national liberal media, thankfully, has lost its power to destroy a candidate over a single gaffe at a coffee shop or something like Howard Dean’s scream in 2004.

Thanks to Trump, Rand Paul can take more radical libertarian positions on his natural issues without fear.

Homeschoolers, for  example, are often Christian evangelicals but they are almost all soft libertarians at heart; they deeply understand the importance of freedom from government and school choice and they have made sacrifices to practice it in their everyday lives. They should be Rand Paul’s natural constituency — not Rick Santorum’s.

Another issue tailor-made for Rand Paul is Uber.

I’m an Uber driver in Pittsburgh. I know from experience (1,700 trips, 3000-plus riders) that Uber is universally loved by young people.

It’s also a great libertarian issue because Uber’s ride-sharing business model — micro-transit at its best — is destroying the local government cab monopolies that have tortured the poor and carless citizens of every major city in North America for nearly 80 years with high fares and horrible service.

Only the bad guys hate Uber — existing taxi interests and their big-city political pals and protectors like NYC Mayor DeBlasio.

Uber is well established in Des Moines, for example. As far as I know, Rand Paul hasn’t publicized himself taking Uber rides in Des Moines or, better yet, becoming an Uber driver there for a weekend night.  Where are his campaign people sleeping?

Jeb Bush or Rubio should not be the Uber candidate; Rand Paul should be. He should own the Uber vote. Arguing with Hillary Clinton about the benefits of  the gig economy is not enough.

I’m sure others would like to see Rand Paul tear off his cheap Republican mask and unleash his inner libertarian.

He needs a unique brand. He needs to become the pro peace, pro pot and pro Uber candidate, not to mention the anti-war, anti-IRS, anti-Big Government, anti-Nanny State, anti-surveillance state candidate.

Coming out of his libertarian closet tonight won’t win Rand Paul the GOP nomination or the White House. It may even lose him his seat in the Senate. But it’ll make it a lot easier for him to stand out from his fellow Republicans in 2020, when he runs against President Clinton.

Ex-newspaperman Bill Steigerwald is a career libertarian and author of Dogging Steinbeck, which exposes the truth about “Travels With Charley” and celebrates Flyover America and its people. Blogs, photos, a 1960 Steinbeck/”Charley” trip timeline and more are at